Rain hit Haley’s bedroom window, tracking down the glass like the tears on her face. Her geometry homework sat unfinished in front of her as she lifted blurry eyes from the numbers and turned toward the wall separating her room from the bedroom next door. She heard Pastor Rife’s muffled voice reciting the familiar words of Psalm 23: “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil, for You are with me. Your rod and Your staff: they comfort me.”
She found no comfort in those words.
When the pastor’s voice stopped reciting the Psalm, he murmured a prayer. Hannah’s voice, if she even spoke, was too weak to be heard through the wall. Footsteps retreated down the hallway a moment later, and Haley listened for any sound, her breath caught in her throat.
Wiping away tears, she sniffled and stood, finding her resolve. She went to the bedroom door and pushed it slightly open. Down the hallway, the door to her parents’ bedroom was slightly ajar, and her dad’s voice travelled the short distance. She picked up snippets of the phone conversation, and curious, she walked quietly to the bedroom and listened.
“I doubt she’ll live another twenty-four hours,” Alan said.
Dad thinks Grandma will be gone in a day? Haley thought, refusing to believe it.
“She was still walking around last night, that’s right,” her father continued. “To take such a turn for the worst overnight was unexpected.”
Haley refused to listen to another word. She withdrew from the doorway and retreated toward her room. When she reached the door, she made to push it open, but she hovered with indecision as her eyes fell upon the door to what was normally her brother’s room. Grandma Hannah had spent the night in Randy’s bedroom, the bed more comfortable than the pull-out one she usually occupied whenever she spent the night.
Biting her lower lip, Haley entered the darkened room. The shades were drawn shut on all three windows as the sound of rain continued to hit the glass. Hannah was lying on the bed, propped up by several pillows, and Haley couldn’t discern her grandma’s face until she was nearly upon her. She stopped at the bedside and tried to smile, but Haley’s heart wasn’t in it. More than anything, fear filled her. This figure lying here – this couldn’t be her beloved grandma!
Haley felt tears prickle again, and with a watery smile, she whispered, “Hi, Grandma.”
No rosy cheeks, no warm smile, no life in her eyes – Hannah stared back at Haley, so weakened and withered, and managed a faint, “Haley.”
LIKE WHAT YOU’VE READ? PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO MY BLOG, WHERE I POST AN EXCERPT EVERY SATURDAY. ALSO KEEP UP-TO-DATE WITH MY WRITING PROJECTS!
My novel, Hannah’s Rainbow: Every Color Beautiful, is available for $5.99 here.